I recently caught up with The Murderburgers frontman Fraser Murderburger. During the interview, we discussed his record label Round Dog Records, new songs being worked on for The Murderburgers, his new musical project with Flav Giorgini of Squirtgun called The Phase Problem and loads more.
You can read it below.
You started your own label called Round Dog Records. How did that come about?
“I used to do some label and distro stuff like 10 years ago, but I didn’t really know what I was doing and was pretty irresponsible back then, so surprisingly enough it didn’t last long. I still liked the idea of putting out other band’s records and running a distro, but decided I’d wait until I was in a better position to do so. The Murderburgers is going pretty well these days and I’ve made a shitload of good contacts from touring a lot over the past few years, so I figured this year was a good time to start a label and give it a proper go this time. I’m having a lot of fun with it so far. I’m broke as shit from doing it, but it’s a good kind of broke. I love everything about it. The most exciting part of my day yesterday was going to pick up boxes of CDs and records for my distro that I’d traded for with It’s Alive Records and Monster Zero. It’s like Christmas, except I have to sell all of my presents for money. Actually, come to think of it, it’s exactly like Christmas.”
How do you decide what albums you want to put out on your label?
“If I like the music, like the people, and think me getting involved will benefit the band then I’ll put it out. All the releases I’ve put out so far and that I have planned for the rest of the year are all by bands that I’ve been friends with for a while, and I’ve made it clear that I don’t have much money to put towards all of this but I’ll work as hard as I can to push the records to get them out there and help the bands out as much as possible. If they are cool with that then I’ll definitely do the record and do my best with it, but if I can’t do enough then I’d rather they found someone that could offer them a better deal than that. Being friends with the bands I’m working with is really important to me as well. I don’t want to put out records by awful human beings. If you’re a dickhead that makes great music then you should probably take your dick of a head elsewhere. Saying that, if you’re a dickhead that makes great music then you’re probably already loaded and don’t have to deal with small time chumps like me. That’s how this music thing works, right?”
What releases do you plan on releasing through Round Dog Records next?
“I’m putting out the new Austeros EP “Lessons Learnt” next. They are an amazing power pop/pop punk band from Cheltenham, England. Murderburgers played with them a couple of times on tour earlier this year and they were one of the best bands I’d seen in a long time, and charming gents as well. I’m releasing it digitally and co-releasing the CD version with Don’t Ask Records. Both the digital and CD versions are out on October 17th. Hopefully we can find a few other labels to get involved with releasing it on vinyl at some point in the not too distant future. It deserves a vinyl release! After that I have Black Volvo from Holland’s debut LP/CD “Once We All Were Wolves” coming out on October 24th, which I’m co-releasing with TNS Records,. Great punk rock ‘n’ roll band and great guys. I’ve been good friends with those guys for a long time and I’m really looking forward to the new record. Then in November I’ve got The Helltons from France’s new 10” EP “Dead Wrong” coming out, which I’m helping release along with a bunch of other really cool labels. I’ve also been friends with those guys for a long time and they are one of my favourite European bands. I wasn’t planning on taking anything else on this year but when I heard their new EP I had to get involved. It rules. I’ve been talking to The Kimberly Steaks about doing their new 7” at the end of the year, too. I’m guessing the Murderburgers/Billy Liar split 7”/CD might take a bit longer to come out than planned, but it’s almost finished. At this rate it’ll probably be the start of next year by the time that sees the light of day.”
What was it like playing Hevy Fest with The Murdurbugers?
“It was a lot of fun. We were there the night before to hang out, so we were a little bit hungover for our set but playing outside meant there was a nice breeze to stop us from passing out. We were the first band on the main stage on the Saturday. Even though we were on early a bunch of people came to check us out, which was nice. We got our friend Samarth from Punktastic out on stage to show off his new Murderburgers t-shirt and then we started a “take it off!” chant until he took his t-shirt off. He clearly hated us for it but it was pretty funny. Seeing The Vandals for the first time in like 10 years was a highlight for me, but the whole day was great.”
You’re in a bunch of bands. You play in the Murdurburgers, Fuck, it’s pronounced Shit, Rat Toilet and new band with Flav Giorgini of Squirtgun. What is the status of each of these bands? What releases are you currently working on?
“I fly out to the states to tour with The Murderburgers in a week or so, the tour is from October 15th to November 11th. Most of the tour is with our friends Rational Anthem, and their drummer Pete is going to be filling in for us on the whole tour. We are playing Pre-FEST and FEST again this year, and we were invited by Alkaline Trio to open for them in Brooklyn on October 22nd as well, so all in it should be a really good tour. Before we leave we are demoing like half an album’s worth of new songs and then doing the same thing when we get home, with a view to start recording a new album at the start of next year. We’re also planning on finishing off a new EP for Bloated Kat Records and our side of our split with Billy Liar when we get home from the states. Taking a bit of time out from touring quite so much to focus on recording until Spring 2015 seems like a good idea.
FUCK! (It’s Pronounced SHIT!) hasn’t been up to much at all recently. Played a couple of shows a couple of months ago. The live band is pretty much me and the guys from The Kimberly Steaks and it sounds great, so we’ve been talking about doing a new EP soon as a full band instead of Tom from Lemonaids/Kimberly Steaks doing bass and backing vocals and me doing everything else. Maybe we’ll get it done at the end of the year or something.
Apart from recording 3 songs last October, Rat Toilet hasn’t done anything else because I’m in Edinburgh most of the time and Kat and Brad are in Minneapolis most of the time. I’d like to do more stuff though, I like the way those songs turned out and the day we spent recording them was one of the only times I’ve actually had fun at a recording studio. Hopefully we can do something else at some point soon.
The new band with Flav is called The Phase Problem. Flav sings and plays guitar, Sancho from Halfrican plays lead guitar, I play bass and do backing vocals, and on record Dan Lumley from Squirtgun/Screeching Weasel/Common Rider/most of my favourite bands plays drums. We just finished recording our first EP a few weeks ago and it turned out great. Dan recorded his drum parts with Mass Giorgini at Sonic Iguana Studios in Lafayette, Indiana and then we did the rest with Jamie Ward at Park Farm Studio in Leicester, England. It’s the first time I’ve ever played bass on anything. The band is a bit more rockin’ than the other bands I’m in, it’s a lot of fun. It’s pretty cool to be playing someone else’s songs for a change and being able to come up with harmonies instead of writing everything and focusing so much on the lead vocal melody. We are aiming to do a couple of shows at the end of this year, and the EP should be out in Spring next year.”
With all the projects that you’re working on, how do you balance music, work and life?
“Between tours I do temp work through an agency that are surprisingly okay with me leaving jobs at short notice to go on tour, and it’s pretty easy for me to get work through them when I get home. Most of them are admin jobs where I can start early and finish early and always work Monday to Friday, so that gives me time to do band and label stuff in the evenings and at the weekend. I’m tired all the time but it’s a pretty good setup. I don’t have much of a social life when I’m at home, the thing I really do is go to shows. I don’t really see my friends and family as much as I’d like to these days, that’s the main problem presented by being busy all the time. One thing that seems to be happening more often these days is people at home that I wanted to hang out with more move further away while I’m on tour. That always bums me out. It’s totally my own fault for doing my best not to be in the country most of the time though.”
Why did The Murdurburgers decide to re-release “How to Ruin Your Life?”
“All In Vinyl did the original pressing of the LP in 2012 and it’s been sold out for a while now, and I think Monster Zero only have a handful of copies of the CD left. We did a split 7” with The Gamits on All In Vinyl in 2012 as well and that sold out pretty fast, so we figured it would be cool to re-release the album with our side of the split 7” as bonus tracks. I spoke to Mike at Asian Man about it and he was into doing the re-release. As well as having bonus tracks we wanted it to look and sound different than the version that was originally released, so our friend Danny aka Wolf Mask did new artwork for it and Mass Giorgini re-mastered the whole thing. It’ll be the first time that the record has been released properly in the US, which is awesome. It’s out digitally already but the LP isn’t ready yet. Should be soon though.”
Scottish illustrator/designer Wolf Mask does a lot of your artwork and I think it looks awesome. How did you get hooked up with him?
“We’ve been friends with Danny for a long time, way before he was calling himself Wolf Mask! We used to cross paths playing in our shitty punk bands like 10 years ago and became friends through that. He always had his shit together, even back then. He was always doing his own band’s artwork, doing zines, all that sort of stuff. All the stuff I would have liked to have been doing but I decided to be shitfaced all the time instead. When he started his most recent band Cleavers (who annoyingly don’t really play anymore) he was doing all of their artwork and it was amazing. I think he kind of took it from there and then start doing artwork for other bands. He’s doing really well right now and he deserves all of the praise he’s getting. We love his art style, and we share the same grim and bleak sense of humour, so whenever he we ask him to do any artwork for us he always knows exactly what we are looking for. He’s currently working on a couple of new t-shirt designs for us right now. It’s pretty funny going to shows in Scotland now and everyone is wearing a different band t-shirt but it’s all Wolf Mask designs. I guarantee he’ll probably be pretty annoyed about that, which makes it even funnier.”
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